Slowly over the years I have become more concerned about my health and the health of my family. In the past few years I have read numerous articles about how we live and how it effects our earth, our homes, and our health.
Years ago I saw author Michael Pollan on the Today show promoting a book and he said one of his Food Rules was “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” This made me laugh at the time and I yelled back “There goes my entire diet!” and went on getting ready for work. But for some reason this stuck with me all day long. I really began to ask myself what I eat that my great-grandmothers wouldn’t recognize and honestly it was a scary 80-90%. Then I began to wonder what they think about my kitchen in a general since there is SO much they would never have used. From my food storage bags and plastic containers, to the nonstick coating on my pans, and even the plastic cooking utensils I use. So much has changed to make our lives ‘easier’.
From this point on an uneasiness settled as I began to wonder about what we use to put food in our mouths. I thought about that article I read that warned of BPA in plastics and canned goods. I considered the chemicals they talk about in air freshers as well as all my cleaning products, you know the ones that leave you with burning eyes and a sore throat. I Googled articles that said my pans with nonstick coating can be toxic. Toxins, carcinogens, hormone interrupters, on and on and on! They were in EVERYTHING I used. Was easier going to slowly make me sick?
After my initial panic subsided I thought about those great-grandmothers again and how they used glass jars for canning, and storage. Cast iron and open flame for cooking. And mostly homemade cleaning products. I’m sure nothing ever went to waste in their houses either.
This made me feel so frustrated and scared, so I cleaned house. Some things got tossed right away other things I used up and replaced with what I felt were safer alternatives. I don’t feel we can hide from everything. I can’t control my friends or neighbors, some things I can’t get away from using due to my own personal lifestyle and other things I selfishly do not want to give up at all. What I decided I can do is to try to reduce my exposure to potentially harmful things.
I always say I am far from perfect and will always be a work in process. I do recycle, which I have with bottles and cans for years, but now we are on a larger scale thanks to our waste management company. I use cloth diapers 85% of the time but I am aiming toward 95%. I buy organic, hormone free, and local whenever possible. I have also worked to switch to safer food storage, cooking and cleaning items.
I am however, a walking contradiction. I want to reduce toxins and chemicals in my home but I dye my hair, I am obsessed with makeup, and I love my nail polish. I want to lower my impact on the earth but I am constantly scolding myself for wasting water and electricity.
Everyone’s journey is different and if you can look past my occasional spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as my periodic contradictions, I invite you to share in mine!